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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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From J.D. Considine in Tuesday's Globe and Mail:

Jazz, by any reckoning, is not a major force in the marketplace. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, sales for jazz recordings have been in decline for a decade, sliding to 1.1 per cent of the market last year (down from 3.4 per cent in 2001). Jazz Times, the biggest American jazz magazine, suspended publication earlier this month; Coda, Canada's premier jazz journal, suspended publication in January (although a new issue "will be announced shortly," according to the Coda website). Perhaps the most startling news of all was that the JVC Jazz Festival was cancelled, ending a 37-year history in New York, the biggest jazz town in North America.

I have noticed that jazz has been unpopular music for some time but I was unaware that the jazz recording sales have taken such a dramatic downturn in the last few years. The Considine quote was taken from an article actually extolling the robust state of the Montreal Jazz Festival.
 

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between nowadays and 50 years ago;..heck, even 10 years ago, music in GENERAL has declined.
 

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It's by far no breaking news and the subject has been covered at length in this Forum also, but, like Stretch, I'm sad becoming convinced jazz really is on the decline, as far as popular audience is concerned. The death of jazz has been announced at every major turn in its tumultuous life (arrival of the swing era, bop, cool, free-jazz, fusion, etc.) and never happened; each time a significant segment of the general audience popped-up, buying records and attending concerts.
I'm afraid no such turn and corresponding new audience is in sight today. No more duel between Free-jazz freaks and Fusion buffs. No real trend seem to develop, between neo-hard boppish band to intellectual combos "a la" Bergonzi-Lovano whose use of heavily altered scales only appeal to a small yet faithful micro-segment of the population.
Here in Europe, for decades a Heaven for jazz and jazz musicians, this hard core of fans - BTW to which I belong - allows some selected clubs and specialized festivals to survive but even the Montreux "Jazz" Festival, also for ages THE symbol of the European mega annual jazz event, this year only includes a microscopic portion of jazz in its program, mostly relegated to a secondary hall.
However, as long as the patient is not dead remains a hope for improvement. Let's hope !
J
 

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I've been very busy not listening to rap and hip-hop hoping they will decline, so obviously whether I listen to something or not makes me the forgotten demographic.
 

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Dont believe everything you read in the paper's--but this time it might be true!
I think jazz as most of us percieve it, is in a terminal state. Most of it's adherents are in the 45-50 upwards age group and we are not gonna be here forever, I know this is a generalisation but I dont think its far off the mark.
BF
 

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While it no longer enjoys the commercial success it did in its heyday, don't underestimate its insidious influence! Popular music would not be the same without the rhythmic and harmonic contributions first developed by jazz musicians. And neither would high school music programs. It's bad news, however, for recording companies (sniff sniff) and, more seriously, for those musicians who want to make a successful career as jazz artists exclusively. But I don't think the music is going anywhere — it's too ingrained in the culture.
 

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Well, it doesn't help sales when people file share, but most people don't really think that matters to anyone. (You're wrong though, but that is another subject).

Jazz is dying and almost dead, or whatever, because it needs to. Much like the 70's led to the 80's. It needs to lose the perception of being "old timey music." It needs to die if there is a chance of reviving it.
 

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Well, it doesn't help sales when people file share, but most people don't really think that matters to anyone. (You're wrong though, but that is another subject).

Jazz is dying and almost dead, or whatever, because it needs to. Much like the 70's led to the 80's. It needs to lose the perception of being "old timey music." It needs to die if there is a chance of reviving it.
That's true. Commercial audiences are suckers for nostalgia! They won't know what they're missing until it's gone! Then it'll be back with a vengeance! Time ALWAYS repeats itself, for better or worse :) .
 

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Well, it doesn't help sales when people file share, but most people don't really think that matters to anyone. (You're wrong though, but that is another subject).

Jazz is dying and almost dead, or whatever, because it needs to. Much like the 70's led to the 80's. It needs to lose the perception of being "old timey music." It needs to die if there is a chance of reviving it.
That's true. Commercial audiences are suckers for nostalgia! They won't know what they're missing until it's gone! Then it'll be back with a vengeance! Time ALWAYS repeats itself, for better or worse :) .
The next generation has to disassociate it from being the music their parents listened to.
 

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::sigh::


Jazz in decline; Jazz is dead; Smooth Jazz killing Jazz; Jazz is killing itself; All That Jazz


I think I'll take the "free post" and get my weight up!
I'm shootin for 3000 'cause it's easier than practicing :)
 

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with VERY little exception, Jazz has been next to dead since the 70s and all the schools came out with all the jazz methods, teaching kids how to play the 'right' scale and licks and patterns. This makes a lot of amazing technicians but has stemmed the creativity. If a cat came out today and played loose like the masterful Hank Mobley, or early Wayne Shorter, Oliver Nelson, or tons of other guys who had HUGE souls and unique sounds, but werent technical cats in the modern sense, they would be nudged off the stage pretty quick. A very few folks have kept creativity first, like Keith Jarret, Hermeto Pasqual, Josh Redman, Joe Lovano, George Garzone, etc, but the list is very small, and is the exception to jazz rather than the norm.
 

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um, I'm now pretty much convinced after hearing the majority of popular music forms that jazz will stick around and be "rediscovered" at some point. Although the majority of the population will never be able to hear more than a bass drum beating, a breathy female voice, nasty ghetto poetry and loud guitar licks, there will always be a certain percentage of the population that does not need to be hit over the head. Just when things look the bleakest they often get better.
 

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with VERY little exception, Jazz has been next to dead since the 70s and all the schools came out with all the jazz methods, teaching kids how to play the 'right' scale and licks and patterns. This makes a lot of amazing technicians but has stemmed the creativity. If a cat came out today and played loose like the masterful Hank Mobley, or early Wayne Shorter, Oliver Nelson, or tons of other guys who had HUGE souls and unique sounds, but werent technical cats in the modern sense, they would be nudged off the stage pretty quick. A very few folks have kept creativity first, like Keith Jarret, Hermeto Pasqual, Josh Redman, Joe Lovano, George Garzone, etc, but the list is very small, and is the exception to jazz rather than the norm.
Well said. Agree 100%

Paint by the numbers technical musicians may impress each other but will never attract any following except others in the same chase.

Codifying and teaching by the numbers is the surest way to kill creativity. Hopefully a few will crawl away and discover that the art is in the emotional content, not the technical skill.
 

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with VERY little exception, Jazz has been next to dead since the 70s and all the schools came out with all the jazz methods, teaching kids how to play the 'right' scale and licks and patterns. This makes a lot of amazing technicians but has stemmed the creativity. If a cat came out today and played loose like the masterful Hank Mobley, or early Wayne Shorter, Oliver Nelson, or tons of other guys who had HUGE souls and unique sounds, but werent technical cats in the modern sense, they would be nudged off the stage pretty quick. A very few folks have kept creativity first, like Keith Jarret, Hermeto Pasqual, Josh Redman, Joe Lovano, George Garzone, etc, but the list is very small, and is the exception to jazz rather than the norm.
Dead right, check my comments in the "Garbareck" thread.All technique and no soul--and the worst bit ;they think they know it all. BtW they all seem to sound the same too. Regards BF
 

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with VERY little exception, Jazz has been next to dead since the 70s and all the schools came out with all the jazz methods, teaching kids how to play the 'right' scale and licks and patterns. This makes a lot of amazing technicians but has stemmed the creativity. If a cat came out today and played loose like the masterful Hank Mobley, or early Wayne Shorter, Oliver Nelson, or tons of other guys who had HUGE souls and unique sounds, but werent technical cats in the modern sense, they would be nudged off the stage pretty quick. A very few folks have kept creativity first, like Keith Jarret, Hermeto Pasqual, Josh Redman, Joe Lovano, George Garzone, etc, but the list is very small, and is the exception to jazz rather than the norm.
Well said. Agree 100%

Paint by the numbers technical musicians may impress each other but will never attract any following except others in the same chase.

Codifying and teaching by the numbers is the surest way to kill creativity. Hopefully a few will crawl away and discover that the art is in the emotional content, not the technical skill.
Yeah, I also have to agree. I think the problem ...well, if you wanna call it a problem...is that Jazz nowadays is just.... derivative. I think any musical genre needs to have a small revolution every few decades. jazz always did that...from Dixie and Vaudeville to Big Band to Be-Bop to Cool to Free to Fusion.
I think Fusion was the last real 'quake' which kept things fresh and exciting and really different. It had something to say.

Post-fusion, when it started to peter out in the '80's....you had 2 ways to go...The Winton Marsalis Museum of Straight-Ahead-Rebirth (or was that stillbirth ?)....or, jeez....Smooooooth.

The former has produced a lotta cats with chops, man, really just killer technicians as well as some who do some really interesting things with harmonics and such....but seriously....after a while, kinda hard to think of a whole lotta memorable tunes. As Wade mentioned, this happened to coincide with the academization (a word ?) of the genre, too...which likely didn't help things any....

Sorry, but I will always jump to see the remaining players still around from the Blue Note era...with a lot of the giants gone, it's really a pleasure to experience the remaining players from back then who were seriously overshadowed at the time.

But you will really have to drag me to see a lotta contemporary players, even quite reputed ones. Buy my ticket, buy my drinks. I done it...usually t'wasn't anything which lit a fire for me....

It'll never disappear...but at the moment, really for the past generation, it's just been dormant.

It needs another quake, it needs another revolution....it'll happen, but I don't think anyone quite knows from where it'll come....

BTW, Wade...that's an Eclectus, ain't it ????
 

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with VERY little exception, Jazz has been next to dead since the 70s and all the schools came out with all the jazz methods, teaching kids how to play the 'right' scale and licks and patterns. This makes a lot of amazing technicians but has stemmed the creativity. If a cat came out today and played loose like the masterful Hank Mobley, or early Wayne Shorter, Oliver Nelson, or tons of other guys who had HUGE souls and unique sounds, but werent technical cats in the modern sense, they would be nudged off the stage pretty quick. A very few folks have kept creativity first, like Keith Jarret, Hermeto Pasqual, Josh Redman, Joe Lovano, George Garzone, etc, but the list is very small, and is the exception to jazz rather than the norm.
Well said. Agree 100%

Paint by the numbers technical musicians may impress each other but will never attract any following except others in the same chase.

Codifying and teaching by the numbers is the surest way to kill creativity. Hopefully a few will crawl away and discover that the art is in the emotional content, not the technical skill.
Yeah, I also have to agree. I think the problem ...well, if you wanna call it a problem...is that Jazz nowadays is just.... derivative. I think any musical genre needs to have a small revolution every few decades. jazz always did that...from Dixie and Vaudeville to Big Band to Be-Bop to Cool to Free to Fusion.
I think Fusion was the last real 'quake' which kept things fresh and exciting and really different. It had something to say.

Post-fusion, when it started to peter out in the '80's....you had 2 ways to go...The Winton Marsalis Museum of Straight-Ahead-Rebirth (or was that stillbirth ?)....or, jeez....Smooooooth.

The former has produced a lotta cats with chops, man, really just killer technicians as well as some who do some really interesting things with harmonics and such....but seriously....after a while, kinda hard to think of a whole lotta memorable tunes. As Wade mentioned, this happened to coincide with the academization (a word ?) of the genre, too...which likely didn't help things any....

Sorry, but I will always jump to see the remaining players still around from the Blue Note era...with a lot of the giants gone, it's really a pleasure to experience the remaining players from back then who were seriously overshadowed at the time.

But you will really have to drag me to see a lotta contemporary players, even quite reputed ones. Buy my ticket, buy my drinks. I done it...usually t'wasn't anything which lit a fire for me....

It'll never disappear...but at the moment, really for the past generation, it's just been dormant.

It needs another quake, it needs another revolution....it'll happen, but I don't think anyone quite knows from where it'll come....

BTW, Wade...that's an Eclectus, ain't it ????
Hmmm...

I definitely agree that the amount of technical masters has gone up as time has progressed, however, I feel this is hardly the issue.

IMHO, there will always be players with enough soul to play the straightahead jazz that does seem so forgotten, in spite of the technical "show-offs". So to me, jazz's decline isn't really on the players, it's on the audience. It was mentioned there haven't been to many "memorable" tunes put out in the jazz idiom lately, and this is due to the exact fact that was also brought up earlier, generations have labeled jazz standards as "the music previous generations have listened to", and therefore couldn't possibly be listened to by the hipsters of today. Musicians have therefore felt compelled to put out the mind blowingly technical pieces that really, can only appeal to other musicians.

Having said this, I still feel it's a damn shame that jazz has declined, and the uhh...I-I-I progressions of today's pop tunes have churned out millions. Jazz will always survive in the musician demographic, and hopefully, someone a little better than Kenny G will surface, turning at least some of the masses's heads back towards "jazz".
 

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well, it comes periodically up that jazz (or some form of it) has died. In fact, I believe that since Jazz has become an established and intellectualized form of art since the '70, when it entered the conservatoria in most places in the world, this music became something different from what it was.

From then on, the music which was the symbol of the modernity and the focus to successive generations of young men and women seeking alternative to the established lifestyle since the '20, declined in it's market and social significance (having been removed from that role from its relatives R&B and R&R) but acquired, instead, a role as an official and established form of art.

Not the devil's music anymore, but something to study and break down into patterns, schemes, formulas. A mater to study and reflect upon, not something that had to be lived.

The upside was that there was the sudden gain of a dignity, an official role which this art didn't have before , the downside is that it became somehow detached from the historical and social significance that it had until that time.

So, now we live in the aftermath of that phenomenon. Some of us still remember Jazz being an alternative lifestyle but we celebrate more the memory of it rather than living it. It most definitely smells funny........
 

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It's the way it's played. If it's played well and you don't do to many cornball tunes alot of people do like it. You have to make it exciting though with players that can do more than medium swing, realbook reading, cornball crap and can play with soul whether they are technical or not. That doesn't happen to often at the local level. It often sounds dreary and corny in my experience. Younger people can't relate to that, it's a turn off. I'm being simplistic I realize but I have had experience with it and I think there is some truth in what I'm saying. When you make it exciting people can relate to it.
 
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